Fishermen in Portugal have vowed to continue with their strike action while pursuing talks with the country’s agriculture minister. Angry over the soaring cost of fuel, the fishermen have already kept their boats in harbour for the last four days. Picket lines have also been set up at several ports to prevent imported fish from reaching markets.
Responding to the announcement, President Hanibal Cavaco Silva said; “The strike action in France and Spain looks like it is already coming to an end. I hope it will also stop in Portugal when people realise the circumstances we are facing.”
But the stoppages elsewhere are far from over. The protests have now continued for more than two weeks in France and spread to other European countries including Spain, Italy and Belgium.
In La Mede near the southern French port of Marseille, fishermen joined truckers and taxi drivers in blocking access to an oil refinery. Police intervened to break up another protest by truckers and farmers outside an oil depot at Frontignan in the south west.
The French government has floated the idea of a Europe-wide cap on sales tax levied on fuel, but the response from European leaders meeting in Frankfurt to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the European Central Bank has been cool.